Milkshake protest stirs up controversy across U.S.
Click here to read more about Portland Police's search for suspects.
Everyone from a U.S. senator to the president of the local GOP piled on criticism, with many wondering how only three people could be arrested during the sprawling, six-hour-long duel between conservative Proud Boys and the black-clad anti-fascists fighters known as Antifa.
Daryl Turner, president of the Portland Police Association union, called on the mayor to kick both sides out of the city and "remove the handcuffs from our officers."
"If this violence had been directed at Antifa, there would have been an immediate call for an independent, outside investigation," Turner said of the downtown protests.
The disagreement even touched on, of all things, milkshakes.
The authorities' claim of "quick-drying cement" in protesters' concoctions quickly became the proverbial tweet heard round the world, with more than 14,000 retweets that largely appeared to take the information as Gospel.
Several local reporters were more skeptical, with one photojournalist noting that "its consistency doesn't jive with my experience" with tilework. The Tribune witnessed dozens of people drinking the vegan milkshakes that were distributed for free by protest organizers, seemingly to no ill effect.
In an interview with reporters, Wheeler's senior adviser on public safety said the tweet was issued around 4 p.m. by command post staff after a police lieutenant on the scene witnessed a man with "irritation" around the skin and eyes after being struck by a milkshake.
"There was a powdery substance," said Robert King, the adviser. "There was also an odor."
Mayor Wheeler, who oversees the police bureau, tweeted out a condemnation of political violence. King, a retired Portland police commander and former union president, said PPB would write and release to the public a report on the milkshake incident.
Asked if PPB had physical evidence of a weaponized milkshake, King said: "At this point I'm not aware of any, but there may in fact be physical evidence that exists."
King also extended his sympathies to Andy Ngo, a prominent conservative voice who became a cause célèbre after he was beaten and drenched in liquids while live-streaming marchers near the Multnomah County Justice Center.
A third-party fundraiser netted $150,000 for Ngo's recovery efforts in less than two days, while his Twitter account apparently grew by more than 50,000 new followers.
"On behalf of Mr. Ngo, we will do everything we can to support him and others that were injured in the demonstration," King said.
"Our investigators have been very successful in identifying people," he continued. "I suspect that arrests will be made."